Rebels report attack against Assad but leader appears unharmed

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Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s motorcade, which was heading to perform Eid al-Fitr prayers on Thursday in Anas bin Malik Mosque in Damascus, was targeted, but state television showed him unharmed and the government denied the attack.

Tahrir al-Sham rebel brigade, a unit of the Free Syrian Army, said several artillery shells were fired at Assad’s convoy after the opposition had secret information on his movements in al-Amaween Square located in the heart of the Syrian capital.

Head of Tahrir al-Sham, General Firas al-Bitar, told Al Arabiya that he cannot verify whether Assad was wounded or not as there were two convoys, one of them being a decoy.

Bitar said his fighters fired 120 mm artillery at the convoy.

Wahid Sagar, an opposition member, also told Al Arabiya, that the leader could have been in a different convoy and not in the one that was attacked.

Assad appears on TV

The Syrian president was shown unharmed after rebels report the attack. He appeared on TV attending Eid al-Fitr prayers.

If confirmed, the attack would be one of the most direct against Assad in two years of conflict that left at least 100,000 people killed.

The Syrian opposition also said that all roads leading to al-Rawdha neighborhood in Maliki district, where the presidential office is, have been closed after an attack in the area.

Video footage distributed by the Tahrir al-Sham rebels showed smoke rising from the district. Other activists also reported rocket fire into the area.

Meanwhile, Syria’s government denied the reports. “The news is wholly untrue,” Reuters quoted the Information Minister Omran Zoabi as saying.

A bombing in the capital last year killed four of Assad’s inner circle, but there have been no reports of Assad himself coming under fire.

(With Reuters)

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